5 Strategies to Integrate Your Values at Work

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” – Brené Brown

Just a few years ago when I was still working in my corporate job, I didn’t know I had a choice. I would wake up every morning feeling great after a revitalizing boot camp workout and then things would change as I made my way into work.

I slowly felt an anxious energy come over me as I got closer to the building. By the time I parked my car, I was tearing up at the thought of another day in the office.

Something was just not right. How could my upbeat and energized mood instantly change into a dreadful and saddened disposition?

I soon realized there was a misalignment in my core values. When I defined what was truly important to me, what I stood for, it became clear why I was triggered by certain situations, people or choices. When I was triggered, there was an emotional response in my body that I could no longer ignore.

Here are some of the consequences I faced as a result of not defining my core values:

  1. I made choices that served others. I did not think about what I truly wanted for myself so I made hasty choices that pleased others.
  2. My emotions were constantly up and down. My mood was always changing. I felt helpless and out of control.
  3. I frequently held myself back. When I wanted to speak up, I second-guessed myself and just kept quiet. Then I felt frustrated for not showing up authentically.
  4. I felt physically paralyzed. I did not have the energy to move. I felt stuck.
  5. I felt alone and unsupported. I was disconnected to my role and the people I worked with. I felt demoralized.

In Bill George’s book, Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value, he states that authentic leaders lead and live on purpose and demonstrate their core values daily and consistently. As a result, these leaders establish more meaningful and lasting relationships starting with themselves. They know who they are and have the self-discipline to get the results they desire.

Rediscovering my core values gave me the power of choice to live and lead authentically. It’s like standing up on a stage and stating to the world, “this is me” and letting go of any expectations to be anything else but myself.

Leaders who naturally and purposefully lead with their core values have the ability to navigate more genuinely through their lives. They mindfully make choices that are aligned with their essence and as a result, allow themselves to be in their ultimate state of flow.

Here are 5 quick strategies to integrate your values at work:

  1. Review your core values daily. What do they mean to you? Why are they important? How do your core values fulfill your life? What are you most grateful for as it relates to your core values?
  2. Reflect and choose to live one of your core values today. At the start of your day (at home or at the office), reflect and choose one core value that you want to demonstrate at work today. How will you show up living and leading that value today? What interactions or activities can you do (big or small) that will strengthen your core value? What kind of experiences do you want to create with this core value?
  3. Lead authentically with one of your core values. Perform a task that aligns with one of your core values. Create the experience leading from your heart and mind…from your core.
  4. Share a story about living and leading your core values with a fellow team member. Share what happened, who was there, and how it made you feel. Describe the experience with as much detail as possible.
  5. Reflect and reconcile on the core value you showed today. At the end of your day, reflect on how you embodied and shared your value(s) today. What did you do? With whom? How do you feel right at this moment recalling the experience? What did you learn about yourself? What will you do differently next time to strengthen your core value?

I am now in a role that aligns with my core values. When something doesn’t feel right, I go back to my core values. What am I feeling? Where am I feeling this emotion in my body? What value is not being served at this moment? What value can I embrace to face this challenge?

I now have a choice and I choose to live and lead as an authentic leader.

Which of your core values can you lead with today?

To define or rediscover your core values, download our Rediscover Your Core Reflection Card. BONUS: Invite someone to share this experience with you and share your core values with each other.

Lorie Corcuera